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Old 03-11-2014   #376
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajunner View Post
as a sense, our hearing isn't as finely tuned a mechanism as taste is, I think that's part of the problem too.

and not everyone hears the same, but most everyone tastes similarly.

but going back to the idea that amp manufacturers putting high-end parts into their circuits and doing a lot of testing before approving an amp's recipe as suitable for production, is all just an exercise in overkill....

I think we need to figure out why an amp is made to perform to higher standards, or to more stringent thresholds of measurement, if anything under 1% is damn hard to tell one amp from another.

It's not just reliability concerns, unless...


hey, maybe that's why so many companies are just taking their business to China, they can't convince the buying public that one amp sounds better than another, so essentially they are all building the same amp, one that makes the most profits!


that's depressing.
It's not depressing. As DS-21 put it, "Amplification has become a commodity." Buy a proven reliable design that puts out the power you require with inaudible distortion in it's power band without adding or taking away anything.

We cling to brands as a prestige item. If most knew that the prestige brands often come from the same place as a "lesser" brand. Heck some even use the same board.

They are a commodity. Plain and simple. Why? Because what is available is most often the case "Good enough". Why spend more for an inaudible improvement. Hey, if you want a certain look, or the pride of saying I rock brand X, that is perfectly fine. no judgement from me at all. I am attached to Sundown amps because I love the no nonsense black old fashioned heatsink. That's it. They provide the power to suit my needs. They all match. they do not sound better/worse than the Boston Acoustics, Cadence,Orion, Phoenix Gold,Rockford,Tru, Arc and Audison amps I cycled through in my own personal search for Amplifier nirvana.

It is very easy to conflate cause and effect that are unrelated in audio design. In fact, the entire audiophile industry is based upon this ease of fallacy.

"Heck yeah you can spend more to get the same sound."
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Old 03-11-2014   #377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79 View Post
If you hear the right systems setup by the right people, absolutely yes.

As I've said before, there's a proper spectrum of good sound just like there's a proper spectrum of good music.

Designing a speaker on 100% science, 0% art is a recipe for something that will okay at best, terrible at worst. Designing 100% art and 0% science is a crap shoot from amazing to terrible.

Need to have a healthy blend of both.

The way to design good gear is to have the vetted ear voice it. One guy designs it, the other listens to it. Makes recommendations, it gets tweaked, listen again, and continue on this path until you reach something nice.

If the designer or engineer does not know what good sound is, he will not be able to create it by himself.



Nice to know, and I'm comfortable not having to prove it.....because I don't think it's possible to prove it if only for one simple reason:

It would mean that you would have to admit you were wrong. And nobody in this community likes to do that (egos are too big). Coming out of the closet would be easier than saying "oh shhh, you're right, I was wrong."

Case in point, some guys have been proven wrong in the court of law ( a certain audio store I know). But he's got gear and a few hours, and a lot of patience.

WTF am I gonna do with just WORDS?





I would like to take the test, but with one caveat....

I supply my amps of choice to go along with what's provided.

Don't get it twisted guys....I'm not here to tell the world I can hear the difference between a PDX and a JL slash and every single amp ever made.

But I'm here to tell you that a few of the amps I like versus others.....I'm very willing to play that game. I might not get 100% but I sure as hell won't get 0%, haha.

Where was this event held out of curiosity?



LOL, why do you cling so hard to that glass half full mentality?

I want to be inspired in life, to experience greatness. I don't want my sh*** Yugo to all of a sudden be equal to a Ferrari.....I want the Ferrari!

My biggest excitement in home audio gear is as follows:

1. Power amps
2. Pre amps
3. Speakers
4. DACs
5. Turntables
6. Phono stages
7. Cables/interconnects

The price points for power amps that I want to hit are : $3000, $7000, $10,000, $25,000.

Pre-amps around $5k (add $3k more for phono stage).

Speakers, a custom set around $12-14k would suffice for a very, very long time.

DAC around $3500
Turntable around $6-7k
Cables/interconnects about $3-4k

This is a lot of money, yes, but in the grand scheme of things it's not too insane. Cars, boats, watches, luxury real estate, etc. can and do cost more than this and in most cases won't be as good an investment for enjoyment and value.

If you're topping out at $4k, that's kinda cool in the short term but when you get bored after 6 months or a year, then you're stuck. Been there, done that, it's terrible.

You would have to become a near billionaire to be "done" with this stuff. Much more enjoyable path.

I also live a life of vices. A different mentality on this stuff.

I see it as more of a drug than a hobby.
Yeah ok. You just like my friend with the insanely expensive system... him and me are the direct opposite when it comes to these kind of things. I don't see it your way, simple as that. I don't care at all about turnables and stuff. I want an iPod or a computer, nothing else. My main interest in audio is processing. I believe in stuff I can measure, to me there are nothing beyond that. I'm NOT an audiophile, I enjoy music. I want to be able to play loud and have a clean, neutral sounding system with a realistic sound stage. All attainable with DSP, room treatments and an adequate amount of clean power imo.

This thread is pointless beyond belief, we are not gonna convince eachother of anything.

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Old 03-11-2014   #378
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79



I would like to take the test, but with one caveat....

I supply my amps of choice to go along with what's provided.

Don't get it twisted guys....I'm not here to tell the world I can hear the difference between a PDX and a JL slash and every single amp ever made.

But I'm here to tell you that a few of the amps I like versus others.....I'm very willing to play that game. I might not get 100% but I sure as hell won't get 0%, haha.
Yep that's the point of the tests...to show that "guessing correctly" is simply that...a guess. These tests usually show evaluators results near 50% +/- accuracy...essentially a coin flip. Most of the tests done are blind ABX evaluations where the proctor plays samples from amplifier A and from amplifier B, then from either one of the 2 (amplifier X). This is a bit of a flawed method in that it requires the evaluator to remember 2 different sources with which to compare to a third unknown.
In my tests, I made it even simpler by doing AX tests. These play a known amplifier A sample, and then an unknown X sample. The X could be the same A amplifier or a different one. All the evaluator has to do is determine if they are hearing the same A source or something different.

All of the other factors remain constant (room, speakers, cables, source and material, etc).


Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79
Where was this event held out of curiosity?
It was done in a hotel meeting room. I chose this for the larger size and and better damped room qualities.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79
LOL, why do you cling so hard to that glass half full mentality?

I want to be inspired in life, to experience greatness. I don't want my sh*** Yugo to all of a sudden be equal to a Ferrari.....I want the Ferrari!

My biggest excitement in home audio gear is as follows:

1. Power amps
2. Pre amps
3. Speakers
4. DACs
5. Turntables
6. Phono stages
7. Cables/interconnects
I really would love for there to be big differences in the sound of the power amplifiers, but there just isn't. That doesn't mean that I would simply choose the cheapest of the bunch though either. There are many other things to consider.

I would say that from your list above though, that speakers are by FAR the component that most changes the sound in a given system. Amplifiers aren't even close to being in the same discussion as far as that goes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79
The price points for power amps that I want to hit are : $3000, $7000, $10,000, $25,000.

Pre-amps around $5k (add $3k more for phono stage).

Speakers, a custom set around $12-14k would suffice for a very, very long time.

DAC around $3500
Turntable around $6-7k
Cables/interconnects about $3-4k
No one should begrudge you for wanting a more expensive product, just like no one should feel belittled by having 'cheap gear'. What the blind tests aim to do is show each evaluator what, if any differences they are able to hear irrelevant of the role psycho-acoustics play based on things like marketing, visual stimulus, price points, etc...so that they can make more informed decisions.
If I know that I don't hear a difference between the $200 amplifier and the $2000 amplifier, then at least I know that that particular issue shouldn't weigh in my decision of whether or not to purchase either amp. I may still choose to buy the more expensive amplifier because it looks nicer, has a more robust or different type power supply(regulated?), uses higher quality or tighter toleranced parts (reliability), is made here in the USA, or by a company that provides excellent support...who knows.
On the flip side, perhaps someone realizes that they don't hear the difference and would like to allocate those funds to an area that does make a siginificant impact for them, like better speakers, professional quality installation, nicer finishing touches...heck even a nicer car to begin with.

I think that at the very least, being involved in the blind testing will help the evaluator to better understand how much of a difference the products in question will actually make for them, versus basing their decisions on marketing nonsense, or the opinions of others.



Quote:
Originally Posted by FG79
This is a lot of money, yes, but in the grand scheme of things it's not too insane. Cars, boats, watches, luxury real estate, etc. can and do cost more than this and in most cases won't be as good an investment for enjoyment and value.

If you're topping out at $4k, that's kinda cool in the short term but when you get bored after 6 months or a year, then you're stuck. Been there, done that, it's terrible.

You would have to become a near billionaire to be "done" with this stuff. Much more enjoyable path.

I also live a life of vices. A different mentality on this stuff.

I see it as more of a drug than a hobby.
What it all boils down to is getting enjoyment out of the hobby we all love. We will all find "value" to be a subjective thing


I really believed that amps sounded very different before creating the test setup, demoing and then eventually proctoring the blind evaluations. I have no problem admitting I was misguided. That said, I didn't go with the cheapest amplifiers for my installation either. In fact, they are fairly pricey. But I based my decision on things different than simply the sound.

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Old 03-11-2014   #379
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There are two types of people. I began with car audio and went to home audio afterwards and there are those who began with home audio and later began with car audio. We tend to have different thoughts on what's of importance. The car audio dudes tend to care less for subtle differences because of all the compromises we are forced to make and focus on the 'real' improvements. Home audio guys tend to think that changing headunits, amps, cables somehow will improve things just as much as they (are supposed to) do in a home setup. Understand that home setups and car setups sometimes are worlds apart, the environment is the main source for distortion. In a small cabin along with a huge noise floor while driving and add the huge crosstalk of window reflections etc - what do we want to attack? Subtle things that we might or might not hear OR the fact that the environment screwed up the response by 15+/- dB lol.

Also I have an OCD about hating overpriced stuff...

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Old 03-11-2014   #380
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Quote:
Originally Posted by cubdenno View Post
It's not depressing. As DS-21 put it, "Amplification has become a commodity." Buy a proven reliable design that puts out the power you require with inaudible distortion in it's power band without adding or taking away anything.

We cling to brands as a prestige item. If most knew that the prestige brands often come from the same place as a "lesser" brand. Heck some even use the same board.

They are a commodity. Plain and simple. Why? Because what is available is most often the case "Good enough". Why spend more for an inaudible improvement. Hey, if you want a certain look, or the pride of saying I rock brand X, that is perfectly fine. no judgement from me at all. I am attached to Sundown amps because I love the no nonsense black old fashioned heatsink. That's it. They provide the power to suit my needs. They all match. they do not sound better/worse than the Boston Acoustics, Cadence,Orion, Phoenix Gold,Rockford,Tru, Arc and Audison amps I cycled through in my own personal search for Amplifier nirvana.
you must agree with your signature.... lol.


I look at amplifiers like Brax, Luxman, that big Sony, and various others and I think there has to be a reason for using all those higher cost parts inside.

the thicker board traces, the signal path shortening, the radio interference rejection from ground plane and physical board separation...

McIntosh is known for their rigid specifications, and meeting specs. They come from that old school, laboratory measurement branding and their amplifiers have to be different, if only to exhibit exemplary durability.

Celestra, wow. Sinfoni, very nice. Adcom, what a huge piece of real estate for so little watts, I mean twice the size footprint from separate power supply, why would they do that?

I can't do it, there has to be something provable about the sound. I'm set in my ways.

Too many years of Audio and Stereo Review, under the belt to believe the differences aren't still quantifiable through examination, and hearing. The Absolute Sound, I am not but I appreciate their efforts.

If it really has come to a simple case of anything above 85 db of S/N, and enough power for the job, then I'm obsolete. I have no business attempting to make a system sound better by upgrading amplifiers.

I'm like John Henry, fighting the steam-powered railroad machine. Only at the end of the race, I'm broke in the wallet, hahaha...
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Old 03-11-2014   #381
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Originally Posted by cajunner View Post
you must agree with your signature.... lol.


I look at amplifiers like Brax, Luxman, that big Sony, and various others and I think there has to be a reason for using all those higher cost parts inside.

the thicker board traces, the signal path shortening, the radio interference rejection from ground plane and physical board separation...

McIntosh is known for their rigid specifications, and meeting specs. They come from that old school, laboratory measurement branding and their amplifiers have to be different, if only to exhibit exemplary durability.

Celestra, wow. Sinfoni, very nice. Adcom, what a huge piece of real estate for so little watts, I mean twice the size footprint from separate power supply, why would they do that?

I can't do it, there has to be something provable about the sound. I'm set in my ways.

Too many years of Audio and Stereo Review, under the belt to believe the differences aren't still quantifiable through examination, and hearing. The Absolute Sound, I am not but I appreciate their efforts.

If it really has come to a simple case of anything above 85 db of S/N, and enough power for the job, then I'm obsolete. I have no business attempting to make a system sound better by upgrading amplifiers.

I'm like John Henry, fighting the steam-powered railroad machine. Only at the end of the race, I'm broke in the wallet, hahaha...
I have come to believe it. Like you, I was also set in my ways. really this forum started the opening of my eyes. I wanted to believe that those high end amps were worth the money and gave an audible advantage. What I found for my use, was they didn't.

So you upgrade every component in the amp to silver plated magic mil spec, .001% tolerance...... and you have a $2500 150 watt per channel amp with a frequency response that extends 1 hertz to 100000 hertz +/-1db at .000001% distortion with a S/N of 120db vs a $200 dollar amp 15-20000 hertz +/- 3db at .01% distortion 95db S/N. that i am going to use to power a speaker mounted in the door of my car playing limited bandwidth. I don't compete. Both will play my speakers to the desired output of loud and clear. Both amps add no eq boost or cut. Distortion and noise floor are both below threshhold of hearing let alone my 42 year old ears in a car I drive and listen to music in. Both amps are competant designs and durability is approximated to the same. And when both amps are driven within their comfort zone without clipping, both should sound the same within reason. If they don't, it would be easily quantifiable as to why by measuring what they are adding or subtracting.

This argument has spanned the 6 years or so I have been on the forum, so I am sure it will continue. I am sure there is something you are paying for in the higher end amps. Hopefully it's the design, protection circuit, clip circuit, aesthetics, physical size... Something. Hell some want to look at it as they invested X dollars and they have "That".

I think that those who are on that revolving door of changing amps out searching for that amp nirvana... The ones who will swap out an amp and claim that they have found it only to see them changing out and selling off... well addiction comes in many forms and psycho acoustics eventually ends and you find yourself right back where you started so wash rinse repeat. A lot of us have been there.

And those that disagree... Hey it's cool. it's your money and maybe you have better ears than I do.

It is very easy to conflate cause and effect that are unrelated in audio design. In fact, the entire audiophile industry is based upon this ease of fallacy.

"Heck yeah you can spend more to get the same sound."
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Old 03-11-2014   #382
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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I have come to believe it. Like you, I was also set in my ways. really this forum started the opening of my eyes. I wanted to believe that those high end amps were worth the money and gave an audible advantage. What I found for my use, was they didn't.

So you upgrade every component in the amp to silver plated magic mil spec, .001% tolerance...... and you have a $2500 150 watt per channel amp with a frequency response that extends 1 hertz to 100000 hertz +/-1db at .000001% distortion with a S/N of 120db vs a $200 dollar amp 15-20000 hertz +/- 3db at .01% distortion 95db S/N. that i am going to use to power a speaker mounted in the door of my car playing limited bandwidth. I don't compete. Both will play my speakers to the desired output of loud and clear. Both amps add no eq boost or cut. Distortion and noise floor are both below threshhold of hearing let alone my 42 year old ears in a car I drive and listen to music in. Both amps are competant designs and durability is approximated to the same. And when both amps are driven within their comfort zone without clipping, both should sound the same within reason. If they don't, it would be easily quantifiable as to why by measuring what they are adding or subtracting.

This argument has spanned the 6 years or so I have been on the forum, so I am sure it will continue. I am sure there is something you are paying for in the higher end amps. Hopefully it's the design, protection circuit, clip circuit, aesthetics, physical size... Something. Hell some want to look at it as they invested X dollars and they have "That".

I think that those who are on that revolving door of changing amps out searching for that amp nirvana... The ones who will swap out an amp and claim that they have found it only to see them changing out and selling off... well addiction comes in many forms and psycho acoustics eventually ends and you find yourself right back where you started so wash rinse repeat. A lot of us have been there.

And those that disagree... Hey it's cool. it's your money and maybe you have better ears than I do.

well put.

I'd have to add, I also like the 2-way stuff, the real radios.

And in that scheme, when Ranger brought in the surface mounted boards, people were against it, it wasn't able to put out the power, it wasn't as clear, it wasn't easy to work on, etc.

Kinda the same thing that goes on in the discrete op-amps that Burson would sell to replace the chips.

And all these people swear that there's a real difference. I can understand the tube guys, I've heard tube amps that rolled off their ends of the spectrum, and soft clipping an output transformer can be quite pleasing as well, but since you're admitting you like distortion at that point, how is your opinion relevant still?

I know your comparison is subject to rules. Silver, actual silver boards, with silver leads on the resistors and Black Gate caps, and various other little baubles of inordinate value, do contribute to sonics to some degree because you can measure the differences. Intrinsically, the copper is 3% less able as a conductivity attribute.

And when you shrink down a signal path, when you are able to shorten it and clear it of too many extra feedback and corrective circuits, when you can run the bias up because you've put in a complement of transistors that are meant to run, and do it well...

they could probably build an amp that tops the PPI MPH6300 or whatever, that no-holds barred amp was.

it might cost 30 grand in parts, or you might have to restart the Black Gate production line to do it, you might have to use cryogenics, or super snake oil to get there, but I'm positive that the mid-grade car audio consumer amp can be beaten in ABX testing.

I'm sure of it!
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Old 03-11-2014   #383
 
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Just wanting more info...
The 2 cases were addressed by Richard Clark in the CarSound forums years ago.

My 4 for 4 and 6 for 6 was at CES at Sony booth around 1998' - 2000' when class D amps and MP3 were being introduced.
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Old 03-12-2014   #384
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Originally Posted by captainobvious View Post
I really believed that amps sounded very different before creating the test setup, demoing and then eventually proctoring the blind evaluations. I have no problem admitting I was misguided. That said, I didn't go with the cheapest amplifiers for my installation either. In fact, they are fairly pricey. But I based my decision on things different than simply the sound.
What's really frustrating is that I feel that you are simultaneously right and wrong.

Right in that amongst the amps you demo'd the differences weren't staggering enough to notice.

And wrong in that, I feel that you haven't heard everything that is out there. Your original premise was absolutely correct, but if the gear you are testing it on is all run of the mill stuff, then you probably won't detect a huge difference at all.

Synthesis Roma/A100T/Los Angeles, Audio Note Gaku On, SAP Anniversary OTL, Western Electric 124....these amps are amazing and unique sounding to an extent that you cannot replicate them, without physical modifications. Turning knobs won't do you any good.

I'd like to have this setup for you, and I can arrange it whenever you're willing to make the trip to Northern VA, just PM me. I'd even ask you to bring some POS speakers with you....radio shack, best buy, computer speakers, whatever....and ideally they will be tiny monitors. I'll almost insist on it.

Of course there will be nice speakers to listen to them too, and you should listen to them. But nothing will drive home the point with any authority unless POS speakers are used, IMHO.

Can we agree that if POS speakers are made to sound nice (accurate, smooth sounding, realistic soundstage, strong midrange presence, bass that belies their size, etc.) that this amp debate was worth it?
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Audiophiles...

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Old 03-12-2014   #386
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Originally Posted by FG79 View Post
What's really frustrating is that I feel that you are simultaneously right and wrong.

Right in that amongst the amps you demo'd the differences weren't staggering enough to notice.

And wrong in that, I feel that you haven't heard everything that is out there. Your original premise was absolutely correct, but if the gear you are testing it on is all run of the mill stuff, then you probably won't detect a huge difference at all.

Synthesis Roma/A100T/Los Angeles, Audio Note Gaku On, SAP Anniversary OTL, Western Electric 124....these amps are amazing and unique sounding to an extent that you cannot replicate them, without physical modifications. Turning knobs won't do you any good.

I'd like to have this setup for you, and I can arrange it whenever you're willing to make the trip to Northern VA, just PM me. I'd even ask you to bring some POS speakers with you....radio shack, best buy, computer speakers, whatever....and ideally they will be tiny monitors. I'll almost insist on it.

Of course there will be nice speakers to listen to them too, and you should listen to them. But nothing will drive home the point with any authority unless POS speakers are used, IMHO.

Can we agree that if POS speakers are made to sound nice (accurate, smooth sounding, realistic soundstage, strong midrange presence, bass that belies their size, etc.) that this amp debate was worth it?
Then these amps are adding something. Simple as that. Higher 2nd order harmonic distortion which we tend to find pleasing possibly... Some sort of possibly natural boost in some area on the frequency response due to the amplifier's handling of the reactive load. What's great is that it can be measured. Why do you think there is "That tube sound"?

Regardless, DIYMA is not an audiophile site... Yet. I really hope that it doesn't become one. I will take science and engineering over marketing buzzwords any day. If you have amplifiers properly level matched and neither amp has any sort of EQ circuit engaged and harmonic distortion is inaudible. The amplifiers should sound the same. If not, it WILL be possible to measure why. Only in the home audio and car audio world can what you describe and state your opinion on is it possible. This stuff lasts about 10 seconds on the pro side.

It is very easy to conflate cause and effect that are unrelated in audio design. In fact, the entire audiophile industry is based upon this ease of fallacy.

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Old 03-12-2014   #387
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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And wrong in that, I feel that you haven't heard everything that is out there. Your original premise was absolutely correct, but if the gear you are testing it on is all run of the mill stuff, then you probably won't detect a huge difference at all.

Synthesis Roma/A100T/Los Angeles, Audio Note Gaku On, SAP Anniversary OTL, Western Electric 124....these amps are amazing and unique sounding to an extent that you cannot replicate them, without physical modifications. Turning knobs won't do you any good.
As already mentioned, these amps are adding something to the signal. Modifying it somehow to get the unique characteristics you describe.

In regards to your "run of the mill" comment, I would have to disagree. Sure, the selection of amplifiers were not $25k "Audiophile Grade" home audio gear, but in the car audio world, they were nothing to sneeze at. Sure there was some upper-mid and even lower-mid level participants, but some models are considered quite high end for car audio. In other words, I think it was a very fair sampling of high quality car audio amplifiers that has no reason to be dismissed.

In case anyone needs a refresher, the blind test amps were...
Arc Audio XDi804
Diamond Audio D7054
JL Audio HD900/5
Phoenix Gold ELITE.4
Soundstream REF4.920
Xtant X604
Zapco Z-150.6
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Old 03-12-2014   #388
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Higher 2nd order distortion is not pleasing though, it's just less instrusive than odd order. (Imo)

The tube sound might be caused by a slightly attenuated FR in the midrange. That can be EQed if you want though.

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Old 03-12-2014   #389
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Higher 2nd order distortion is not pleasing though, it's just less instrusive than odd order. (Imo)

The tube sound might be caused by a slightly attenuated FR in the midrange. That can be EQed if you want though.

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Many express it gives that "warm" sound

I just want amplified what is in the original signal. So I agree with you.

It is very easy to conflate cause and effect that are unrelated in audio design. In fact, the entire audiophile industry is based upon this ease of fallacy.

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Old 03-12-2014   #390
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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As already mentioned, these amps are adding something to the signal. Modifying it somehow to get the unique characteristics you describe.

In regards to your "run of the mill" comment, I would have to disagree. Sure, the selection of amplifiers were not $25k "Audiophile Grade" home audio gear, but in the car audio world, they were nothing to sneeze at. Sure there was some upper-mid and even lower-mid level participants, but some models are considered quite high end for car audio. In other words, I think it was a very fair sampling of high quality car audio amplifiers that has no reason to be dismissed.

In case anyone needs a refresher, the blind test amps were...
Arc Audio XDi804
Diamond Audio D7054
JL Audio HD900/5
Phoenix Gold ELITE.4
Soundstream REF4.920
Xtant X604
Zapco Z-150.6
Zed Audio Leviathan

Should also be noted that 3 of those were class D designs, while the rest were A/B.


There should be no "voicing" of an amplifier. Its job is to take the input signal and increase it's magnitude, unmolested. If an amplifier playing is changing the sound, it's either been engineered to alter the frequency response of the signal, or it's poorly designed/malfunctioning...or it's being used in the wrong application (eg- the user running it into clipping, etc)

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Old 03-12-2014   #391
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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Many express it gives that "warm" sound

I just want amplified what is in the original signal. So I agree with you.
Yes. It certainly changes the character, I'd rather put it like this; if the distortion (THD) mainly consist of 2nd order HD. It's good, 2nd order HD tend to be least noticeable and "rounds" the sound a bit, I've found that high HD2 tend to sound a little "fuzzy", the opposite of transient. High HD3 (above HD2) tend to sound clearer, giving the sound an edge, overly transient. Causes listening fatigue after a while and is generally unpleasant after some time.

Also remember that with harmonic distortion comes intermod distortion as well. These two are linked to each other. IMD3 and higher products can be nasty IME. The way we perceive non-linearities are complicated as well, seems like it's volume dependent and that the ear introduces non-linearities too at high volumes, masking distortion from the device/transducer.

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Old 03-12-2014   #392
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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As already mentioned, these amps are adding something to the signal. Modifying it somehow to get the unique characteristics you describe.
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Old 03-12-2014   #393
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

Might be a good read for those that have an open mind

The Decware Audiophile Tube Amplifier / Model ZEN TORII MKIII

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Quote:
I'll repeat it for the miliionth time : All amps do NOT sound the same ... It's astonishing to me that nobody understands this
Who knows, some might understand now
and here's another one and another <-- click on the links
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Old 03-13-2014   #394
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

To those who are hung up on tube amps "adding" something, has it ever occured to anyone that maybe solid state amps and lesser amps are "subtracting" stuff?

When a sound is "thin" in playback, I don't care what the #s say, the sound has had something tangibly removed from it.

And those amps are not "amazing" strictly for their tone. They give the speakers dynamics, projection and bass response superior to "normal" amps. Can you EQ all of that into your system? LOL.

It would be like saying you can EQ an 8" sub in a small sealed box to put out a 40 hz tone like a 15" in a huge ported enclosure.

You can't teach height in basketball, you can't teach horn dynamics to conventional drivers, and you can't teach those "physical" qualities in lesser amplifiers.

Bottom line is the tube sound to me is a more natural sound than solid state. That it happens to be more enjoyable is not a bad thing....it's hilarious that this is considered "a problem". Like not using salt or spice on food because that's not how real food tastes raw.

This thread got slightly derailed....it went from amps vs. amps to tube/solid state. Both are legit, but let's stick to amp to amp.

So to sum up I'm saying that I'm comparing good/not as good amp in terms of how close it comes to sounding natural and/or pleasing, not as much as as alleged input and output graphs would suggest.
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Old 03-13-2014   #395
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The 15" vented vs 8" sealed comparison would be like comparing a 50w amp to a 500w amp.

I hope you didn't just say that a tube amp have better "bass response" than a SS. This is certainly not the case. It's very important to impedance match a tube amp to the speaker. Still, with a load connected it's unlikely a tube amp inhibits a flat response. The response can be measured and EQed to match with any other amp. The "soft clip" characteristic is harder to mimic as it relates to the non-linear distortion domain. There's no magic involved, we can measure the difference.

Btw, what is dynamics? Dynamic Range? I don't understand subjective explainations...

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Old 03-13-2014   #396
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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The 15" vented vs 8" sealed comparison would be like comparing a 50w amp to a 500w amp.

I hope you didn't just say that a tube amp have better "bass response" than a SS. This is certainly not the case. It's very important to impedance match a tube amp to the speaker. Still, with a load connected it's unlikely a tube amp inhibits a flat response. The response can be measured and EQed to match with any other amp. The "soft clip" characteristic is harder to mimic as it relates to the non-linear distortion domain. There's no magic involved, we can measure the difference.

Btw, what is dynamics? Dynamic Range? I don't understand subjective explainations...

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Some tube amps absolutely do have better bass response than SS. The SS that is really powerful for bass will sacrifice smoothness.

The SS that attempt to be audiophile (e.g. Krell) does not have the midbass response of a good tube amp.

Dynamics. I'm not great at defining it scientifically, but think of the attack of a drum kit or percussion instrument. A dynamic system will hit hard and fast compared to one that is not as dynamic.

Often you will notice this more in the recording. A very dynamic recording has a big range from quiet to very loud, whereas one that is not (typically a LOUD recording like modern pop and rap music) has a small range. Listen to the drums on a well made recording vs. typical modern day pop or rock recording.

So an amplifier, just like a speaker can improve on what's already there.

If you're so hung up on EQ, why even bother differentiating between speakers? You can EQ speakers to sound however you want if you think you can do it with amps.

Listen to a typical run of the mill OEM car stereo. They take some pretty s*** speakers and in many cases can get the tonal signature to sound nice, maybe pretty nice. They EQ to a flat curve typically or something decent and voila the tone is fine. So what's the catch?

Not a ton of dynamics, headroom, SPL, presence, etc. The sound of the system feels like it is in the doors more than the soundstage. The over use of EQ (along with an average amplifier) contributes a lot to this.

You may not ever want to agree with me about amps, tubes , etc. but if you think EQ is a magical fix-anything-without-any-compromises-ever tool, you are sadly mistaken.

It is the spice, not the main dish.

The purpose of EQ in a car is to fine tune stuff, not transform the sound entirely.
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Old 03-13-2014   #397
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No, the main purpose of EQ is to compensate for the environment. As I said you can fix the frequency response with EQ. In a car it's certainly one important part of the "dish".

EQ won't do much good in fixing ringing in the time domain, it won't improve the power response or the non-linear distortion unique to all speakers. Subs on the other hand can be EQed to sound pretty much the same. OEM speakers ain't necessary bad, too little power, "all seat" T/A, weird FR curves, sometime bad speaker placement etc etc contribute to that 'typical' OEM sound.

Big difference between the low-intensity parts and high-intensity parts of a track is certainly dynamic range. Need a dynamic track first off, adequate power output, a correctly tuned sustem and transient/high output speakers.

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Old 03-13-2014   #398
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

If its improving something, like midbass response, then its doing so via a built in change in frequency response. Period.

Do you think the artists record music hoping someone will change the sound based on their preference? Whether it be by a change in frequency response at the amp, or some crazy eq curve?

Let me ask you this. Are you one of those rediculous audiophiles that wont watch live music anymore unless its in the perfect venue with the perfect equipment?

If so, you've already lost the forest for the trees.

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Old 03-13-2014   #399
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Exactly ^^

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Old 03-13-2014   #400
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Default Re: HIGHER END AMP SQ IS A MYTH

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If its improving something, like midbass response, then its doing so via a built in change in frequency response. Period.

Do you think the artists record music hoping someone will change the sound based on their preference? Whether it be by a change in frequency response at the amp, or some crazy eq curve?

Let me ask you this. Are you one of those rediculous audiophiles that wont watch live music anymore unless its in the perfect venue with the perfect equipment?

If so, you've already lost the forest for the trees.
You might like to cling to this "what the artists preferred" as it sounds all nice in theory but two things:

a) There really is no re-shaping of an EQ curve. What you see as adding, I see as restoring. It's not adding bass if the recording doesn't have it. In home audio, you rarely ever have too much bass. And more important than bass is something called WEIGHT and if you do not know what that is, I won't be able to explain why it's important.
b) Artists for the most part do not know much about their preference or care either way. If anything, most don't know what's good for them.

There's a lot of misinformation on what tubes do to sound as if they transform Skrillex into Etta James.

The idealist way of looking at these things go out the window when you have to admit that something that sounds nice is actually quite desirable. If it is colored a bit, B.F.D.

Case in point: every good car audio system has a midbass peak in it. If it doesn't, it will sound boring (unless you only listen to classical music). Home audio flatness does not translate to cars, even with the engine off.

And no, I don't hold out on concerts if they are not in elite settings. As big an audiophile as I am I've maybe only been to 1 or 2 concerts where the sound was actually very good. Unamplified music is the obvious exception where most of it sounds good.
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